Plinky: How Do You Define A Friend?

Hot Glass, Ice Cubes and Room Temp Cola causes...

Image by srboisvert via Flickr

I had a best friend for years, where trust, laughter, love and an eager dining companion perfected my single world.  Her name was Katy and we met in a small apartment building in a suburb of Boston. We were the “Mary” and “Rhoda” of the 80’s. The only thing missing from our studio apartments, one above the other, was the big first initial of our names hanging on the wall, just like Mar had. We met in the tiny laundry room one day where she gave me advice about wrinkles. When she grabbed my clothes from the washing machine, and shook them out, I felt a little uncomfortable.

We had been best friends for years and when I met the boyfriend I would eventually marry, I couldn’t wait to  introduce him to my best friend.  I admit, the first meeting was a little awkward; Katy was polite yet distant. Their was no warmth as we passed vegetable lo mein and chicken with broccoli amongst the three of us.

Later, my husband and I introduced her to the man she would marry, a friend of my husband’s. Katy and Bob were both loners and somewhat eccentric but we took enormous care in matching them up. There was no doubt in my mind that they would take to each other and they did. We danced at their wedding while my husband and I waited for the toast to us the “matchmakers.” There was none. The bride and groom sat alone, away from their family and friends, secluded from their own party. No, I was not the maid of honor.

There were normal friendly disagreements, like in any friendship, yet Katy never wanted to talk things out; she hated any type of confrontation. Looking back, our friendship was at its peak when I constantly placated her. When I became a more confident, independent person she did not like it yet she wouldn’t talk about it either. This started the chilly decline and her withdrawal. All of a sudden the warmth I had initially felt became a fake veneer, breaking glass to reveal nothing but ice.

One devastating situation that I shared with her was when my husband and I were trying to have a baby and I was depressed. She was in my car when I broke down once and sobbed. Back in the late eighties and early nineties no one talked about infertility treatments, it was a hushed topic filled with shame and heartbreak.

After two and a half years of painful infertility treatments I FINALLY got good news. I got a call from the nurse in the doctor’s office telling me I was pregnant; I softly closed the door to my office, sank on the dirty carpet, and wept. We waited through the first trimester with extreme caution telling no one except for immediate family.

I couldn’t wait to tell my best friend the news! She was so special to me I didn’t want to tell her on the phone so I invited her to dinner at her favorite restaurant.  With my voice filled with emotion, my Diet Coke shaking in my cold hands, I told her that I was pregnant and she was going to be an aunt. I waited for her response with tremendous excitement. I was expecting a shout of glee, a warm hug, excitement but there was nothing but silence. Nothing.  What I did get was a frozen expression and a few tears trickling down her face. She wouldn’t even talk; I was in utter shock, deeply disappointed and confused. When I questioned her reaction all she said was “I’m fine.”

What happened later is not my story to tell and I will not share her secrets because it’s not my place.  Her husband confided in us and told too many intimate things. I told Bob that we didn’t want to be put in the middle of their drama, that he should talk to her. He didn’t. When I tried to talk to Katy she denied everything and lied to my face. I can accept a lot in a relationship but lying is absolutely abhorrent to me. Tell me it’s none of my business but do not look me in the eye and lie.

Once pregnant, she dropped me, cold. I didn’t understand. There was nothing I could do to re-establish the bond which I thought was absolutely unbreakable. For many years I tried to reconnect but she didn’t want to have anything to do with me. She made that very clear. I can’t say I didn’t have clues, I had many: the way she treated her parents and only saw them once, maybe twice a year. They were not allowed to visit her in Boston.There were many other signs, I saw the pieces of the puzzle but never put it together until now. She was emotionally damaged and people had been telling me that for years. I just couldn’t believe them, I didn’t want to believe them. My very best friend in the world, not only broke my heart but shattered it. She ended our friendship quickly and abruptly as if she was throwing an emotional grenade in our direction, then she turned and fled. Not looking back. Ever.

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High School, Like Being Pregnant, Only Different

I glowed all through my two pregnancies. I loved being pregnant and felt blessed and  beautiful, healthy and alive and happy. Despite the normal pregnancy disturbances, like peeing every few hours at night, it was a very special time for me.  UNTIL.

Up until the ninth month when I became so uncomfortable and stressed that I couldn’t wait to give birth. It happened with both my children, same time, same bat channel. The angel inside became too big, too frisky and punched like a son of a bitch, incessantly.  I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t walk, I waddled and I couldn’t get comfortable anytime or anywhere. At that point, the little angel you have carried and protected in your womb (whom you have nurtured, sung to, played music for and sang the alphabet song a thousand times)  becomes a devil. The child you wanted to carry forever becomes the baby you can’t wait to give birth to. GET IT OUT OF ME NOW. I’ve had enough.

We have two teenagers in High School, one is a Junior and one is a Sophomore. I often get sad thinking about them leaving home and going to college. It will be “so quiet” I say to my husband as he rolls his eyes upwards. There will be only one year between our son going to college and our daughter. We will be empty nesters and that reminds me of really old people. HOWEVER. In the last six months they have become incredibly obnoxious each in his or her own way. If I start recanting some of the things they do I immediately get angina.  Let’s just say, we are at a point, where we ARE FINE with them to going to college. We might even relish some quiet time instead of all the yelling, arguing, cursing, fighting….that has gone on for years.  IT’S GETTING OLD. FAST. There are certain fights that my son will initiate just to fight. To him, it’s a sport. He will end up yelling up a storm with my husband. To me, he uses curse words that I hate and find incredibly disrespectful. This was the boy I was raising to be a good, solid, young man. You wouldn’t know it from the way he speaks. He apparently hasn’t learned that I am a parent and not his posse of friends that curse together, those macho things. Our daughter, known in the past to, shall we say, interpret the truth differently than we do, provokes her brother, flies under the radar and basically tries to get her older brother in trouble all the time. She often succeeds and while we hear some interesting tales, she will rat him out in a heartbeat if it means saving her own backside.  It may just be her life goal to see how much trouble she can get him into.

So, when the children are packing up their suitcases for college, we will be ready. For a little peace, a little quiet, for doors that are not slammed shut, and rooms that  don’t look like hell holes. Rooms that if, and only if you dare, step inside you are risking your life and your decrepit limbs.

Remember, kids, we love you and will miss you, don ‘t forget to call. Have a safe trip.  Love, Mom and Dad